Welcome to the pre-workshop prep page!
Please follow these instructions to download and install the necessary software and files on your laptop before the workshop. All this will take some time, perhaps around 15-30min, depending on your prior familiarity with software installation and R.
Note that it is not enough to have just R and tidyverse installed (which you might have) - you will also need a number of packages and a worksheet file, and your R and RStudio should be up to date. The instructions below come with troubleshooting steps - if something seems to be amiss or not working as intended, make sure you’ve read through everything. Importantly, if something went wrong and you could not install the software, please get in touch before the workshop starts so we can try to quickly troubleshoot (“just watching” in the workshop is not an option, I want to teach you how to actually do some things :)

The first part of these instructions is identical regardless if you’re attending Day 1, Day 2, or both. The last part (worksheet and package installation) depends which you’re attending. If you signed up for both days, make sure to download both worksheets below and install both package sets!

Good luck!
- Andres Karjus


This document contains step-by-step instructions for:

  1. Installing the (free) software we will be using;
  2. Configuring RStudio options;
  3. Downloading the worksheet file(s) you’ll be working with and
    Installing the required packages (instructions inside the worksheets).
  4. Troubleshooting the top most common errors (something to read during package installation)
  5. Confirm doing all the steps.

All steps are mandatory and must be completed before the workshop starts. Step 1 can be skipped if (and only if) you’ve very recently installed R and RStudio, for example for another R workshop. There’s a known conflict between the newer R versions and older RStudio (pre-1.4.1717), so you’re quaranteed to crash if you update one but not the other.

1 Install the software

The installation process only takes a few clicks. But before you start, please make sure your operating system is up to date as well (particularly Macs: there are known conflicts between old versions of R and some newer packages, which will manifest if you have a Mac with an very old version of the Mac OS, which in turn would lead you to download an old version of R).
You need both R and the RStudio IDE. R will be running inside of Rstudio. If you only install RStudio but not R, it’s not going to work.

1.1 Install R

First let’s install R. If you already have R installed, please still update it to the most recent version, i.e. 4.2.1. Updating is done just by downloading the most recent version and re-installing. Depending on your operating system, go to:

If you already have R and/or RStudio installed, close both applications before updating. Download the relevant file above and install (with default options, just keep clicking Next). Run R once to see that it works (something like Rgui.exe or R x64.exe should appear as a shortcut in the start menu and/or desktop; on a Mac, look for the R application in Finder). It should look something like this, depending on your OS:

on a Mac on Windows

Good job. Now close R (if it asks to save the workspace, say no). This is the last time you see this interface, RStudio is much nicer :)

1.2 Install RStudio

Did you install R? Great; now go to https://www.rstudio.com/products/rstudio/download/#download -> it should detect your operating system and offer the relevant version (“Download RStudio Desktop”), otherwise choose the installer from the list depending on your operating system (so not the zip/tarball, and not the source code!). Even if you have an older version of RStudio installed, update it anyway (don’t worry, your settings and preferences carry over).
Once installed, run RStudio (again, look for the shortcut in Start Menu/Finder, or the desktop, or the folder where you installed it).

Common issues and troubleshooting - skip if RStudio installed and runs ok:

  • If you cannot install RStudio because your operating system is out of date (e.g. pre-7 Windows or pre-Sierra Mac OS) and you don’t feel like or don’t have the time or willpower to upgrade, a solution is to use RStudio Cloud instead in a web browser.
    • Go to https://rstudio.cloud and sign up a free account, or just log in with Google or Github.
    • Download the Rmd file (step 4 below), and upload it to the cloud (see File pane -> Upload in RStudio Cloud). Make sure to still do the package installation step as instructed in the worksheet.
    • Doing these steps allows you to participate without installing RStudio, provided you’re on a decent internet connection.
  • Another option if you can’t install RStudio, and if (and only if) it’s because you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows (likely an older laptop; installer says Windows is not compatible), you could download this old archived version instead - the newest version of RStudio installer comes only in the 64-bit flavour.
  • If RStudio is running but very slow: try disabling the spellchecker: Tools -> Global Options, choose the Spelling tab on the left, disable the real-time speller.
  • If you’re on a Mac and got the Error reading R script (), system error 2 (No such file or directory); Unable to find libR.dylib, it means you only installed the RStudio IDE but didn’t install R. Just go back to 1.1 and do that.


2 Configure RStudio options

Run the RStudio application. We need to change one option to make it behave in a more useful way for us (fortunately, the RStudio interface is highly customizable).

  • Enable Soft Wrap: go to: Tools -> Global Options -> Code -> enable Soft-wrap R source files. This will make using the script editor much easier, by wrapping long lines so you won’t have to keep scrolling left and right all the time.
  • Absolutely optional, only if you’re bored: feel free to play with the settings in the Appearance tab in Tools -> Global Options (I personally prefer the dark themes for example).